This week the Anne of Green Gables Read-a-long welcomes Kate Elwood who discusses Chapter IV: Morning at Green Gables
The orphan, Anne Shirley, wakes up in a strange bed, in a strange room. I can't imagine that she saw much of that room by lamp light the night before. How disoriented she must have been until the realization hit her! She was at Green Gables, the most beautiful place she'd ever seen. What an experience for a child who's had nothing in her life. But her next thought had to have been like a punch in the stomach. They didn't want her! She couldn't stay!
It's understandable that Matthew and Marilla would want a boy to help run the farm. That was the way it was done in the early part of the twentieth century in Canada. Children who were unwanted or orphaned were used as servants. But if they were lucky, they just might be treated with kindness, and even loved. Yes, the Cuthberts wanted a boy and a skinny little red headed girl would never do. She was devastated! However, our little Anne had a great sense of imagination, and Anne's fierce little spirit fought back.
She knelt at the window drinking in the beauty before her. Lilacs, apple trees, and lovely cherry trees! She was such a romantic soul, albeit a lonely one. It's not much wonder that she daydreamed so much. Her life had been so hard, harder than any child's should be. Anne knew things that no child should know, and was completely innocent of all that she should have known having never been taught anything much. But she sure knew beauty when she saw it, and was mesmerized by it.
It's obvious that as the morning progressed, Marilla's attitude about Anne softened. She really felt for the young girl. Of course, Anne's jubilation was just about too much for her. Having lived such a quiet life with just her and Matthew, it was disconcerting to have this little chatterbox in the house, although she washed the dishes and seemed more than willing to help.
Meanwhile, Matthew stood by quietly. I have to think that he was just praying that Marilla would change her mind. I love how he never had much to say, but measured his words so carefully. And before she left to take Anne back to be returned to the orphanage, he quietly let Marilla know that he'd hired a boy to do chores. Just in case? Or hoping?
The relationship between the brother and sister is sometimes serious, sometimes comical. It's hard to say from this brief chapter who is the older one, but Marilla certainly ruled. Very seldom would Matthew express an opinion different than hers. He appears to have suffered from terminal shyness and a lack of self-confidence.
Because so much of Anne of Green Gables is character driven, it is always relevant. I have personally read Anne of Green Gables as well as the following novels many times in my life. What keeps bringing me back is as much the characters as the story.
I am Kate. I live in Brantford, Ontario and have 3 children and 4 grandchildren…all girls. I'm semi-retired and spend a couple afternoons a week with elderly people. They have such interesting stories!
Our community theatre company, Ichthys Theatre Productions, presented a dramatic version of the story with a lovely young actor in the lead role. It was the experience of a lifetime! I had the pleasure of costuming the production. That was four years ago, and this year we're in rehearsal for Anne of Avonlea which I am again costuming.
I feel honoured to have been able to share my thoughts on one of my favourite stories.